Cognitive bias modification for the induction of negative versus benign interpretations of the self in individuals with elevated social anxiety

effects on self-related and anxiety outcomes

Natasha Reyes, Kelsie A. Boulton, Jin Han, Michelle Torok, Quincy J. J. Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of cognitive bias modification for interpretations in the social anxiety literature typically examine the effects of inducing a benign interpretation of ambiguous social situations. This study modifies and extends cognitive bias modification procedures to specifically alter interpretations of the self (CBM-IS) associated with social anxiety disorder and examined the effects of negative CBM-IS versus benign CBM-IS. Participants with elevated social anxiety were randomly allocated to a negative or benign CBM-IS condition. After CBM-IS training, participants were assessed on induced interpretations of the self, completed a speech task, and rated their performance. Negative self-esteem and anxiety were assessed at baseline, post-training, and post-speech. As predicted, negative CBM-IS induced a negative interpretation of the self whereas benign CBM-IS induced a benign interpretation of the self. There were also three key differential effects: (a) a baseline to post-training increase in negative self-esteem following negative CBM-IS but not benign CBM-IS, although the negative self-esteem difference between conditions was no longer evident at post-speech, (b) a greater increase in anxiety from post-training to post-speech following negative CBM-IS relative to benign CBM-IS, and (c) more negative self-ratings of speech performance following negative CBM-IS relative to benign CBM-IS. These findings validate the new CBM-IS procedures, and highlight the potential of these procedures for testing models of social anxiety disorder and for therapeutic intervention to reduce social anxiety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567–580
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Volume44
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • social anxiety disorder
  • social phobia
  • cognitive bias modification
  • self
  • beliefs
  • interpretation
  • treatment

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